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Thread: Feeding 40 people

  1. #1
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    Feeding 40 people

    My son's first birthday is coming up in June and I'm trying to plan food.
    for his baptism we order trays of food primarily since we had the church service right before and couldn't cook. This time for his birthday, we can do the food ourselves. Some people think I'm a little crazy for wanting to cook for that many, but I feel like this should be doable, people have done it. However, I don't wnt to be chained to the grill for the entire party so simple and prepped cooking is key.

    I'm looking for menu and portion suggestions. Its 40 people, maybe more, maybe less, but it shouldn't be 25 or 100. Keep in mind these are picky NYers so not everyone eats everything, specifically pork and beef.

    Pulled Pork
    I was thinking I could do pulled pork as one of the mains, maybe 2-3 butts in my smoker starting the day before.
    that way that is done before anyone shows up.

    Chicken
    Definitely need to service chicken since there are non-beef/pork eaters. Debating about doing chicken drums/thighs or just grilled chicken cutlets or both. Cutlets are easy and probably preferable to some. Seems very uninteresting to me every time I do it. thoughts?

    Beef maybe in addition to the pulled pork and chicken.
    So the pulled pork and chicken may or may not be enough. I was debating about getting some flank steaks and grilling them up, cutting into strips. Not sure the work effort there or how much to do. grilling is probably easy, its the cutting up for that many people, and not sure on the cost.

    Burgers and dogs
    Haven't decided here, but I'd probably plan on doing burgers and dogs for the kids. Was trying to get away from doing it for the adults since again, everyone seems to do this in the summer and I feel its a bit boring.

    Sausage
    was debating about doing this instead of the steak as its easy to do for a large group. However, I'm not sure if this is too similar to the pulled pork and not a viable alternative. Maybe this helps me skip the burgers and dogs, I dunno.

    As you can see from my sig, my current arsenal includes a WSM, a performer and a Genesis gold. I may be getting an SE-410 or LX440 before then. I think I have enough space to cook this stuff if I get the pork done before the party.

    as sides I was going to do a cous cous salad, a tuna salad and a green salad.

    Not that this is a competition, t other people in my area/family generally have these types of things in restaurants, or at least in a KoC hall with catered food. So I am trying to go a bit nicer than just burgers and dogs.
    Anyone have any thoughts?
    Last edited by Chris Kug; 05-18-2017 at 12:55 PM.
    Blue Performer 18"WSM Genesis Gold

  2. #2
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    I like the flank steak idea. Maybe a chimichurri sauce you can make ahead and serve on the side?

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    I cannot offer invaluable insight--as I have not done a cook for this large of a crowd--so I suppose this is like reading a review on Amazon from someone whom bought a product but has yet to use it but I do often smoke pork shoulders. Then I pull them and freeze in manageable sizes in [generic] Foodsaver bags. Occasionally, we serve a dozen at home and simply place x frozen bags in a large pot of boiling water. Or if time is tight and we're in the mood we will pull-out a 1-2 lb package and heat it the same way for our family dinner. We are not snobs, lol, and everyone whom likes pulled pork enjoys it just fine. I recognize your remark about needing to serve a variety of meat but if you get in a time crunch perhaps this could be some food for thought. And if you are not already aware, Amazing Ribs offers keen insight on party planning. Here is one link but there are several others within their site: http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_tech..._planning.html

    And I also remember there is a recent thread Cooking for a Wedding with 150 People and within it Len Dennis led the OP to a thread where exists a formula (albeit for pulled pork again): https://tvwbb.com/showthread.php?697...ding-some-help

    Happy Birthday to your son and good luck!

  4. #4
    TVWBB Wizard Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    Chris, 40 is going to seem simple in ten years!
    Three or four butts can be done that day before pulled and panned with a splash of apple juice or something to keep it moist. I like the flank steak idea, easily marinated, cooks and slices easily. The chicken will be the sticking point, how much chicken do you think you want? Do you have the ability to rotisserie cook a couple? Those can be pretty much "cleaver portioned". Otherwise, I might say the indirect method on the performer will give you a nice way to do quite a few drumsticks with little fuss.
    That's a menu I'd do without much worry, sausages could be done the same way on the performer but, three meats is grand!
    I do two butts for a group of twenty with the idea that some will find its way home with guests, two (or 3) is not beyond.
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

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    TVWBB Super Fan Andrew F's Avatar
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    I'd do pulled pork on a bun and and pulled chicken on a bun. Then you can offer hamburgers ( they use the same buns!) for the kids that don't do pulled pork or chicken. Although I say if they wont eat the pork or chicken, they wont starve missing one protein at a meal.

    Just grill a bunch of bone less skinless chicken breasts the day before and chuck them in a kitchen aid with a paddle attachment. Instant pulled chicken. OR grill up whole birds, de-bone and give them the kitchen aid treatment.

    Now you have simplified your life greatly. You only need 1 type of bread product. Most of the cooking can be done the day before, burgers can be cooked from frozen saving waste there.

    It is YOUR party that YOU are hosting. You are not a restaurant, serve what YOU like and actually enjoy the day.
    Blue Performer 22 WSM

  6. #6
    TVWBB Wizard Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    I'd go along with the pulled chicken if you are attracted to it, the attraction of the chicken to me, is the crispy skin. A bunch of thighs would be easy enough and provide the difference in texture and presentation, the flank steak will cook in twelve minutes the day of, stagger them about five minutes apart. Then you can slice them easily into a half pan as quickly as needed, if you have a whole one left, there's the next days dinner with minimum fuss.
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

  7. #7
    TVWBB Honor Circle Bob H.'s Avatar
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    If you have not done this before, try to keep it simple so it will be easier for you to grill and control. How about trying marinated boneless chicken breasts, sausage, maybe Italian
    or smoked Polish, and burgers. That should satisfy everyone, and keep the cooking easier for you to control your first time for a crowd. Have fun with your party!

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    I'm in the boat with making the pulled chicken and pulled pork the day prior, then make burgers at the party. Andrew F is right, same buns can be used for all of them. You were smart to start planning ahead of time. I had a party of ~30 here a few weeks ago and everyone brought their own protein for me to grill. It worked out but was a pain not knowing what was coming and when and how much. It sure was fun, but I spent most of the party manning the grill, and that's not how it should be. Enjoy yourself!

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    If chicken's on the menu it might be a good idea to offer some dark meat as well; I see B/S thighs in the stores from time to time although not as often as the breasts. For pulled chicken I'd use a 50/50 mix for more flavor.

    I cooked for 30 people earlier this year and I did pork butts (20 lbs.) and thinly sliced sirloin tip steaks (15 lbs.). The plan was to cook the whole tip roasts and then slice them afterward but the guys in the meat department misunderstood me and sliced them while they were still raw, but they grilled super fast (15 lbs. of thin steaks means a LOT of steaks) and I kept them warm in a Nesco roaster with a some added au jus.

    If there are going to be some vegetarians/vegans at the party, zucchini planks don't take long to grill if you salt them ahead of time to draw out some of the moisture. Tomatoes work well, too, and they can also be great as sides.

  10. #10
    TVWBB Wizard Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    I did a thing like yours Brian, everyone brought a dish to pass and a protein for the grill but I had four grills running and 200 people talk about a one legged man at a Butt kicking contest! I had three sidemen t helped but, I had my hands full.
    A Ranch Kettle would have been a BIG help but, three 22's and an 18 worked well enough. I wanted New feet by the end of the day!
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

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